Even though the government is partially shut down, airport security isn't affected. Thankfully, because when you see what some people try to carry through TSA screening, you have to ask: what were they thinking?
From a meat cleaver in Baltimore to a dagger in Philadelphia, to a sabre hidden in a walking stick in Chicago-- all intercepted by federal officers. But now dry ice bombs that somebody managed to get past security have stumped security in Los Angeles.
They are simple and in most states illegal. Plastic bottles filled with water and solid carbon dioxide. And overnight here at LAX, three dry ice bombs were found near a plane at the new international terminal, which recently underwent a $2 billion upgrade, the second such incident in recent days.
"They're going to be reviewing camera footage, they're going to be interviewing employees who were in that area if we can find out who placed those there," said Commander Blake Chow, LAPD Counterterrorism Dept.
But dry ice bombs are the exception. Guns are not. Hand guns, long guns, air rifles, replicas and antiques.
In a recent one-week period last month, 33 firearms were found at U.S. airports across the country including LAX. Thirty of them were loaded and many had a round in the chamber. But those aren't the only weapons. There are knives: big ones, switchblades, and lots of them. Some concealed in various items and places. And there were the stun guns, at least nine of them found on or in the baggage of travelers.
Among the assortment of weapons seized from passengers going through O'Hare airport security during that one week last month: a 16-inch sword that was concealed inside the walking cane of one traveler.
TSA screeners routinely find brass knuckles, throwing stars and other martial arts gear, none of which are allowed, and hand grenades are frequently discovered. Many times they are novelty items, but not allowed nonetheless.
In many cases the offending passenger receives a citation although some are arrested and penalties can be $7,500-- even if you just forget to remove something from your bag.